the liver and the brain

dan michaels feedbackdroids at
Mon Sep 6 11:12:33 EST 2004

r norman <rsn_ at> wrote in message news:<0bsmj0pn5dobm685schbu9n6mqn8fi9p56 at>...
> On 5 Sep 2004 12:27:24 -0700, feedbackdroids at (dan michaels)
> wrote:
> >r norman <rsn_ at> wrote in message news:<0b4mj0p65jiodagsip98lfl6ph59uiq405 at>...
> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >Precocial 1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Megapodes 
> >> >Precocial 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes* No Ducks, Plovers 
> >> >Precocial 3 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Quail, Turkey 
> >> >Precocial 4 Yes Yes Yes Yes/No No Grebes, Rails 
> >> >Semi-precocial Yes Yes Yes/No No No Gulls, Terns 
> >> >Semi-altricial 1 Yes Yes No No No Herons, Hawks 
> >> >Semi-altricial 2 Yes No No No No Owls 
> >> >Altricial No No No No No Passerines 
> >> >...
> >> 
> >> Many posts ago, I did refer you to the Megapodes, including the
> >> partridges, pheasants, and quail.  These are fully independent at
> >> birth and therefore at hatching have well developed sensory, motor,
> >> and integrative centers that clearly are genetically determined.  That
> >> ducks are highly precocial does not mean that learning, as in
> >> imprinting, is not important in their early life.  It simply means
> >> that there is a genetically determined system that requires a learned
> >> component to be implemented fully.  I thought the whole trend in this
> >> discussion is that there is no absolute distinction that can be made
> >> between learning/environment/nurture and instinct/genetic
> >> determinism/nature.  In many cases, probably in virtually all cases
> >> for mammals and primates, they interact.
> >
> >
> >Yes, no doubt they interact. What's of interest to me is the
> >"relative" balance regards nature vs nurture in the groups, esp
> >precocial. The relative balance must swing somewhat different ways in
> >the 2 types - and no doubt depending upon the characteristics one is
> >looking at, such as motor versus perception, etc.
> >One imagines a baby chick has some degree of built-in ability to
> >distinquish mother and other chicks from predators such as foxes, as
> >those species which did not have this would likely have gone extinct
> >long ago.
> >
> >This N.v.N thing is obviously a spectrum, with a lot of animals down
> >on the nature/instinct end, and a general trend towards greater
> >importance of nurture on the other end. If you look at it this way, it
> >seems a waste of time to argue absolutes of "nature vs nurture",
> >rather it seems more fruitful to figure out about where on the
> >spectrum various animals would lie. In addition, you probably need
> >several such spectrums, or scales, in order to cover different
> >attributes ... motor, perceptual, etc ... as there is no doubt some
> >differential placement regards each.
> >
> >Back to perception, it's actually not too hard to hypothesize the
> >existence of neural circuitry for distinquishing predators from prey
> >[or self-same species]. Frogs already have the basis of this in their
> >class 3 and 4 retinal cells. One imagines precocial animals rely on
> >something similar, albeit more sophisticated.
> Frankly, the ability to recognize food seems a more interesting and
> immediate problem than recognizing predators.  

I don't know about that - or I should say, not to me. 

It seems to me that eating works both ways, so you have to build the
system to both eat and avoid being eaten for best success. This is one
of the big things that Bateson was emphasizing - that you really need
to look at behavior of the organism in the natural context. Also, for
instance, when you train neural nets, you have to train the same cells
on both correct and incorrect patterns [regards the responses you
want], else the nets don't learn to discriminate at all.

> What you are interested in is the phenomenon of "sign stimuli" or
> "releasers", another well studied topic in ethology.  It is very
> likely that genetically determined nerve circuits in the sensory
> system, perhaps even at the level of the sense organ, are responsible
> for detecting the main features of these stimuli.

Another good term to track down sign stimuli [add to altricial and
precocial]. This is the basic idea behind the class 3 + 4 retinal
cells in the frog.

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